Air Jordan XX2 22 Performance Review

Since the Curry 7 review is just around the corner, I thought I’d step back and review the AJ XX2 since the Curry 3 took a huge bite out of the AJ XX2 back story.  I’m disappointed that UA went there but if the Curry 3 performs, nobody will care. I guess since the XX2 was such a sales dud maybe UA thought they could pull it off without anyone noticing? I don’t know …

Pros: traction, fit, support, materials

Cons: pod cushioning is too targeted and feels unnatural, tippy in the heel, pricey at $175 especially in 2007.

Sizing: half size down

Best for: guards

Weight

16.5 oz so just a half ounce more than the Crazylight Boost 2016.

Traction

Jordan Brand usually does a good job with traction and this was the highlight of the air jordan 34 for me. Stuck extremely well on clean floors and needed minimal wiping on dusty floors.  Probably would have been better if the entire outsole was the same depth but then the IPS system wouldn’t “work” as well

Cushioning

IPS is back again for the third straight model starting with the XX. Hurray?
I couldn’t tell a difference in density in any of the aforementioned models and this was no different. The IPS foam feels great overall at least with a nice bit of springiness.

As for the heel, Jordan Brand brought back the modularity idea allowing the player to swap between Max Air and Double Stacked Zoom. Now that sounds great in theory but the Max and Zoom don’t cover much surface area And the double stacked Zoom is nearly as thin as a quarter (I mean two quarters since its double stacked). Maybe this was the beginning of the end for real Zoom

You can feel the cushioning if you like quarter size set ups. It literally feels like a quarter size lump of cushioning is under your heel. Having the logo raised in the insole doesn’t help either.

Which feels better between the two ? Zoom pod for sure. It just has a more even feeling than the Max set up.

Overall cushioning is decent but far from ideal. A simple forefoot zoom and regular heel that covers the entire heel like the Kobe VI would have been great.

Fit

The XX2 came out before Nike and JB went to a more narrow last and fit so 10.5 fit me perfectly. Finger width of space at the toe, no heel slip and no space side to side.

The upper starts a little stiff since it is real leather but it breaks in nicely and gives a decent almost one to one fit. Not quite perfect but still good overall.

I really liked the simple lacing set up with the lace lock because it just works.

MaterialsWhat is this foreign space age material ? Oh it’s real leather. Good luck ever seeing leather again from any company.
JB and Nike were really pushing the quilted interior back in 2007.

Personally I like the look and feel but it doesn’t make a difference performance wise.

Nice materials and build quality, may leather Rest In Peace

Support and Stability 
Ah, when a higher cut shoe didn’t fold like a bad hand in Texas Hold em. I really liked the combo of the firmer mid cut with a stiff heel counter

JB also says the XX2 features a titanium coated midfoot shank plateErrr, just because it is painted silver doesn’t mean it’s titanium Jordan Brand. Clearly plastic with silver paint. It does its job just fine but don’t hype a piece a plastic as something it isn’t.

The XX2 is stable in the forefoot even without an outrigger but the heel is a little tippier than I prefer. The protruding outsole under the modular unit doesn’t help either.

Overall support is good but the tippy heel isn’t trustworthy.

Containment

Clean simple lines with no major physical barriers would be worrisome with today’s knits and woven uppers but leather is strong and doesn’t have that stretch on hard cuts. Also this extra leather rand helps in containing the foot. Similar idea to the Curry 3 “midsole frame”

Conclusion 

Every sneaker has a snorey..I mean story. Out of ideas, let’s say make up one about fighter planes! Zooooom fast powerful stealthy (is that a word? ). It’s everything an Air Jordan should be! Whoever was running Jordan Brand back then needs to be destroyed like Cyberdyne in Terminator 2 to prevent the proliferation of story telling these days. Unnecessary and adds no value to sneakers; let the players wearing them write the story.

Inspiration aside, the shoe itself is a good overall performer but the ultratargeted tiny heel cushion really ruins the shoe. Let’s see how UA does with the same inspiration.

Mizuno Wave Sky Waveknit 3 Performance Review

The Mizuno Wave Sky Waveknit 3 checks all of the technical boxes. It has a knit upper, a midsole combining two soft foams, an outsole built for durability, and a plush collar and tongue. It’s got the whole package to be a solid everyday running shoe. And if you’re not familiar with Mizuno as a running brand, this is a good place to start.

We tested the Mizuno Wave Sky Waveknit 3 from both a male and female perspective. This review is based on our experiences using the shoes for speed workouts, trail runs, treadmill training, long runs, casual wear, and more.

Let’s start the performance review by focusing on our favorite part of the shoe, the cushioning.

Cushion

Jodi: The cushioning system is pretty darn impressive. It’s a combination of XPOP PU foam and Mizuno Foam Wave. Every time I ran in the Sky Waveknit 3 I felt like I was flying down the road. They felt light and responsive. They’re one of those shoes where it’s hard to tell where your foot ends and they begin. It literally felt like they were one with my feet.

Drew: When I initially unboxed the Sky Waveknit 3, my eyes were immediately drawn to the cut out on the outsole that provides access to the XPOP foam. Just pushing it with my finger showed me it’s as bouncy as adidas Boost or Nike React. The Mizuno Foam Wave that carries and sits above the XPOP feels very plush, like Nike’s Cushlon or other soft EVA foams. Together, the package is extremely good at impact protection and giving your foot a nice bounce off the ground. This is a shoe that’s long run friendly. Your knees and back will take less of a pounding and recover quicker because of the cushioning package.

Traction

Jodi: The Sky Waveknit 3’s traction is solid. It’s everywhere on the outsole but broken up in all the right places to keep the shoe light and flexible. It’s carbon rubber reminds me of what Under Armour used on portions of the UA Curry 7. Which begs the question, how durable is this setup? I’ll let Drew answer that…

Drew: This outsole is built to last. My pair has approximately 50 miles in them and looking at the outsole rubber you’d think I’ve run 3-5 miles in them. This outsole and cushioning system will most likely last 300-500 miles which isn’t a given in most of today’s running shoes.

One small note. Initially, the outsole didn’t grip very well on wet roads. It was only slight slippage with each footfall but it was noticeable. It got better over time as the outsole gained some miles but it’s something to be mindful of when taking your initial runs in them.

Support

Jodi: The Sky Waveknit 3 has the sturdiest heel counter I’ve ever encountered. You put them on and the shoe pretty much sucks your heel into place. And don’t worry, the heel counter is heavily padded so rubbing isn’t an issue.

Drew: I agree with Jodi on the heel counter. It’s super stiff and does it job well. The Waveknit itself is on the stiffer side so the upper holds up well to turns. On trail runs it still wasn’t quite enough containment in the forefoot. The heel was great so I tried them on trail. But because your foot doesn’t sit inside the midsole you can get over the edge in the forefoot. It’s better to avoid rocky or root-filled trails and stick to asphalt or gravel.

Materials

Jodi: Mizuno calls the upper’s material Waveknit. It’s very formed and tough. Where the Nike Epic React is pliable, stretchy, and thin, the Mizuno Wave Sky Waveknit 3 is the complete opposite. The only real stretch the shoes gave me were on the top of the toe box where the holes are larger to give you breathability. Because the rest of the shoe is so layered your feet don’t get much of a breeze outside the toe box. Side note: I don’t know if Drew noticed this, but the pattern on the toe box is shaped like a heart. Maybe I noticed this more because my shoes are bright red and I’m a girl…

Drew: It is a heart! If you look at the shoe top down from the front you can totally see it. On my grey pair I just thought it was a normal grouping of ventilation holes. Now it definitely appears a cheeky Mizuno designer snuck in a heart. I kinda like the personality. Most running shoes these days are all business.

Also, Jodi is right that the Waveknit is layered and thick. It’s different than knit from other brands but that means it’s also more supportive. It’s not what we’ve come to expect out of a knit but it’s an interesting change of pace. Want a thicker, more durable knit shoe? The Sky Waveknit 3 is perfect for you.

Fit

Jodi: Fit is where the shoe didn’t work for me. Lengthwise, the shoes are my true running size. Width was another story. I had to run with mine laced as loose as possible to give me some wiggle room. I could see my socks peeking through between the sides of the tongue and the upper due to how I had them laced (and the lockdown was still great!). I would feel amazing and light as I headed out for each run only to have my feet start swelling around mile 2 and be royally uncomfortable by mile 3. Anyone with even slightly wide feet should buy the wide version of the Sky Waveknit 3.

Drew: Even with my narrow feet, the Mizuno Wave Sky Waveknit 3 was tight. I generally like my shoes that way but I would recommend the wide version if you have anything other than narrow feet. As Jodi said, lengthwise they’re true to size. The Waveknit, despite being a thicker knit, flexes extremely well. The collar and tongue are also super padded with an almost memory foam material. As long as you get the right width, they’ll be comfortable.

Overall

Jodi: If you have a narrow foot, the regular width Mizuno Wave Sky Waveknit 3 would be fantastic. It’s built to be fast and light. All the potential is there. Unfortunately my feet needed the wide version. So if you’re a wide footer like me, just make sure you get the wide version.

Drew: The nike kyrie 6 cushioning and durability are the big attractions. This is a shoe that will last you a lot of miles and be kind to your feet, knees, and lower back. Just make sure you know they run narrow so you can go wide (if needed).

New Balance Fresh Foam More Performance Review

With the New Balance Fresh Foam More, New Balance has jumped into the thick midsole craze. Does New Balance’s Fresh Foam work in larger doses? I’ve got the answer.

The recent large volume midsole craze is driven by Hoka. Recently, we’ve reviewed the Hoka Bondi 6, Hoka Rincon, and Hoka Arahi 3. Nike has also jumped into the game in a big way with shoes like the Nike Zoom Fly 3 and the controversial Nike Vaporfly Next%. In all of those shoes, the larger volume midsole wasn’t a gimmick. The midsole design contributing to making the ride smoother and snappier while maintaining a very effective cushion setup. Because of the successes from other brands, I had high hopes for New Balance’s latest model.

I ran 70+ miles in the New Balance Fresh Foam More including speed workouts, trail runs, treadmill training, long runs, running over the Golden Gate bridge, and several flights.

Cushion
The Fresh Foam More’s exaggerated midsole offers a fantastic ride. Every step is really smooth. The shoe gives you a nice rocker feeling so landing seems to propel you to and through toe off. In my experience, this worked whether you land on your heel, midfoot, or toes. The shoe quickly became one of my go to running shoes because it made me feel like I was exerting less effort in each of my strides.

Fresh Foam doesn’t do it for me in small amounts. I’ve owned New Balances with a thin slab of Fresh Foam and those shoes just didn’t provide the impact protection I wanted. However, a huge amount of Fresh Foam works great. The impact protection is among the best in recent running shoes and I believe it has a lot to do with New Balance’s midsole design. New Balance has given the foam lots of places to expand with small holes along the lateral side of the midsole and a depression in the heel portion of the outsole to allow for an extra bit of plushness during heel strikes. And even with all that cushion, the Fresh Foam More is still lighter than the average neutral everyday running shoe.
Traction
The traction of the Fresh Foam More is a good news, bad news situation. The hexagon-patterned outsole grips well across rainy roads and sandy trails but it won’t last long. New Balance uses what it calls Ground Contact Foam for the outsole. While Ground Contact Form is denser than the Fresh Foam midsole, it’s still foam and that means durability issues. New Balance opted not to protect the foam with rubber to save weight. While it’s nice the Fresh Foam More is so light, I still wish there was rubber on the outsole in high wear areas like the toe and heel. After 70 miles the outsoles are already looking extremely worn. Based on the way the Fresh Foam More wears down, I only expect them to last 150-200 miles.

Support
Interestingly, the New Balance Fresh Foam More carries a 4mm drop. Most everyday running shoes end up in the 8mm to 10mm range. A 4mm drop is more typically found in Cross Training shoes. The reason is the added stability the lesser drop provides. Weightlifters don’t want to slide forward in their shoes as they lift heavy weights. Instead, they want a flat, stable platform. The 4mm drop in the Fresh Foam More works the same way. The runner stays put on top of the midsole and that’s great for stability.

In addition, the heel and half of the midfoot sit inside the midsole. This means you’re not moving off the footbed. Most instability on roads or trails that cause your weight to shift left or right won’t be cause for alarm. The higher midsole walls keep you upright. It’s the perfect addition for a shoe with such a large volume midsole and provides extra peace of mind.

On top of the above, air jordan 34 provides a wide base for the forefoot. The forefoot’s wide base allows full toe splay and extra support when tackling uneven terrain. You also get a typical internal plastic heel counter that helps the heel stay upright. Altogether, this is one of the more stable neutral running shoes I’ve tested. I do know many people that utilize Stability shoes are also looking for a neutral runner that may fit their needs. The New Balance Fresh Foam More is definitely worth considering even if you’re an overpronator.

Materials
The upper is a very typical mix of engineered and regular mesh. The engineered mesh is reinforced at the toe for protection, durability, and to give your toes a little more room. For durability, New Balance placed fuse overlays on the lace loops. The laces themselves are stretchy with a really cool 3M dash pattern. The upper is very breathable as the mesh pattern allows air to flow easily throughout the shoe. Finally, the holographic 3M “N” New Balance logo is awesome. It’s just for looks but it makes me smile each time I put on the shoe.

Fit
The New Balance Fresh Foam More fits true to size. I went with my normal size and had my preferred thumbnail worth of room.

The upper has no visible seams except behind the heel (which you can’t feel as you’re protected by the heel counter and layers of padding). The comfortable but not too thick collar features 2 achilles pillows and 2 ankle pillows that help prevent ankle area blisters and add extra comfort without the extra weight of a beefy cushioned collar. The middle lace loop on each side of the shoe connects to the tongue and keeps it in place. New Balance calls these Tongue Wings. It’s the best implementation of tongue stay tech I’ve ever seen. The tongue doesn’t move or slip to the side. As someone who often gets tongue slip, I really appreciate the thought that went into the Tongue Wings (even though the name needs a little work lol).

Overall
The New Balance Fresh Foam More delivers a large volume midsole and a well rounded shoe. The cushioning is great, the ride is smooth, and the support is top of class. You also get a few nice touches like Tongue Wings and the holographic 3M logo. The outsole durability isn’t what I would expect from a shoe this price but that’s the main drawback on an otherwise exciting shoe. Hopefully New Balance continues to make running shoes with large volume midsoles because their first effort was a success.

Under Armour Curry 7 Performance Review

HOVR and Micro G make an appearance on the Under Armour Curry 7. Do they make a difference? Find out within our performance review.

Like most Curry models, traction is something that I never really worried about.

Herringbone is used alongside a radial pattern — both of which are my two favorite styles of traction patterns — and they worked really well. I never had to wipe the soles no matter where I played as the aggressive setup was able to quietly bite the floor and provide ample grip. This setup is perfect for, well, anyone looking for traction. Its multidirectional coverage is perfect for any player, any style of play and any move/footwork you can throw at them.

The rubber is slightly on the soft side so outdoor players will notice some fraying and grinding of the pattern. Luckily, there is a lot of rubber and multiple layers of both patterns so while it may wear down quickly, at least there is some additional pattern to go around.

Under Armour went with a dual setup here, enlisting both of its best proprietary foam compounds. Unfortunately, the cushion feels much like it does on every other Curry signature shoe — lackluster and firm.

If you’re expecting the bounce back from the Micro G and a springy plushness from the HOVR then you’ll be disappointed. Despite utilizing the tech names the setup is still firm. Stable, but firm.

This type of setup is great for those wanting a quick feeling shoe that wont sink under their feet. Stability is typically a priority when it comes to Curry’s footwear and this shoe is no different. Great for shooters, and anyone else looking for a low profile and stable setup. Similar to a Kyrie style shoe, if we’re going to compare to another guard’s signature, but without the awkwardly rounded tooling.

The knit that I enjoyed on the Curry 6 is gone and has been replaced with some textiles and a lot of synthetics.

I don’t mind the setup as it works really well on-court. So, from a performance perspective there is not much to complain about. Where I feel a bit of “meh” towards the setup is that this is a signature shoe without a signature feel. There is nothing that is premium with these, and there could have been.

Instead of using 100% synthetics, a little bit of leather, suede or nubuck could have been used. You could have still kept a lot of the TPU layers, as they don’t stretch and provide a level of durability that raw materials don’t, but the collar area, and perhaps the toe cap, could have been a nice raw material and would have given the shoe a really unique feel amongst a lineup of signature models comprised of mesh, ripstop, and knits.

Again, performance is everything and on that end there are no complaints. I just think that what UA did with the Under Armour Forge 96 was a perfect blend of premium/raw materials along with modern synthetics and textiles. It really would have taken the Curry 7 up a notch from the rest of the signature shoes available.

The fit for the Curry 7 I felt was true to size.

They fit my foot a little better straight out of the box than the Curry 6, which needed a bit of breaking in before everything felt “right”. Maybe its due to the material change, but these just felt a little better in terms of overall fit and lockdown.

If you’ve happened to have worn the Curry 3Zer0.3 then that is what I feel is most comparable to the Curry 7. Otherwise these are just better fitting than the air jordan 34 bred.

Support is very good on the Curry 7. They look like a runner, which may throw off some people, but the way they’re built just cradled my foot perfectly.

The HOVR that wraps up the sidewalls and is ensuring your foot doesn’t slide off the footbed. There is an internal heel counter along with the TPU moderator plater to help stabilize the footbed. While there is an outrigger, it’s not as present as previous models, but works just as good. They’ve found a way to slim down the overall design and make them just as supportive. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but the setup works wonderfully. It might even be the most supportive Curry since the Curry 1.

The Under Armour Curry 7 is a beast on-court.

Traction is great. Materials work wonderfully — despite not having that premium feel. The fit may vary from person to person, since no two feet are alike, but they fit me perfectly. Support was awesome.

Cushion is the one area that I felt disappointed with. I know this is a Curry shoe, therefore we can expect a firmer setup, but the way the shoe is marketed with a heavy focus on UA’s two best foams — which happen to be two of the best foam cushions on the market — without either of the two foams feeling the way I had hoped/expected left me slightly bummed out.

Luckily, everything else on the shoe works so damn good that they stay in my rotation. You never know when you’re going to head to the gym and the floor be a mess. Having something with traction as reliable as this is never a bad thing to have in your gym bag.

Nike By You Reveals Opening Week Collection

Last season’s NBA opening-week footwear indulged in the league’s generous colorway rules and brought wildly creative designs to the floor, as seen in the Nike By You custom designs led by nine rookies and sophomores.

This year, the project was expanded to 23 players who customized their footwear based on four signature silhouettes: Kyrie 5, the KD 12, the PG 3 and the Zoom Freak 1. Here are all the Nike By You colorways — and the personal inspirations that helped create them. You can customize your pair now on Nike.com.

Kostas Antetokounmpo, forward, Los Angeles

Legacy is the word that Antetokounmpo wanted to carry through his shoe, with regal purple accents a perfect match for his team-inspired base yellow. The word is embossed on the inner tongue to remind him to represent his family’s name every time he plays.

OG Anunoby, forward, Toronto

The London native sought out a loud colorway for opening week, choosing a mosaic of contrasting colors and tying the look together with neon green laces.

Mikal Bridges, forward, Phoenix

A self-proclaimed momma’s boy, the Phoenix forward designed a KD 12 based off his biggest supporter and main role model. The shoe is completed in a soft purple and yellow color scheme and includes his mother’s initials on the tongue tag.

Miles Bridges, forward, Charlotte

The athletic forward chose a colorway scheme after his favorite animal, the gorilla, a paradigm of intelligence and aggression. Purple and gray accents add a touch of some of his preferred colors. His son’s birthday is printed on the heel, and a personal reference is included on the tongue.

Bruce Brown, guard, Detroit

Inspired by the idea to never judge a book by its cover, Brown customized his shoe entirely off his love for country music, covering his KYRIE 5 in a mix of yellow, burnt orange and sky blue in a tribute to his favorite country artist.

Jalen Brunson, point guard, Dallas

The Dallas point guard designed his shoe from his personal mantra, displaying an acronym on the tongue for “The Magic is in the Work.” The upper is layered in his team’s colors.

Donte DiVincenzo, guard, Milwaukee

The Milwaukee guard designed his KD12 based off his close relationship with his mother. He highlighted her favorite color throughout the shoe’s upper and added in their motto, “Stay True,” which appears on the back heel tab.

De’Aaron Fox, point guard, Sacramento

In addition to the team-inspired color scheme, the third-year guard included subtle details for his foundation, placing other personal details on the inner tongue and the back heel.

Darius Garland, point guard, Cleveland

The Cleveland point guard designed his shoe in a deep red base with a white flytrap containment system. The bright colors were inspired by the attention he’s had on him since he was young, and how he is constantly reminded to stay humble.

Jaxson Hayes, center, New Orleans

The seven-footer chose a color palette inspired by the reason he first fell in love with basketball — a first-grade team he played on that sported navy blue and gold.

Tyler Herro, guard, Miami

The rookie sharpshooter designed his PG3 around his belief in continually evolving his dreams; he’s already charting new ones now that he’s found his way into the league. With an attitude of always wanting to stand out, he chose bold color-blocking throughout the upper and polished off the design with personal details, such as the initials for his nickname (Boy Wonder) on the heel and an acronym on the tongue as a reminder to earn his playing time.

De’Andre Hunter, forward, Atlanta

The versatile forward came from unassuming beginnings, describing himself as a player who didn’t take basketball too seriously until he was older, developing a supportive relationship with his mother along the way. The colorway pulls from his memory of a childhood gym where his mother rebounded for him. The acronym on the tongue stands for a personal motto: “Skills Over Politics.”

Chandler Hutchison, forward, Chicago

The Chicago forward tells his personal story through his Freak 1 silhouette — printing “Underdog” on the inside of the tongue of his shoes, which represents how he felt he was under-recruited throughout his career. He incorporated his high school’s colors into his shoe to acknowledge his coach as pivotal in helping him get noticed by college scouts.

Jonathan Isaac, forward, Orlando

The blue, white and black colorway is inspired by his Orlando team and is dedicated to its fans. The forward gives his shoe a pop of orange inside and on the laces.

Jaren Jackson Jr., forward, Memphis

Jackson’s vibrant shoe was designed to exude the energy he brings to his team’s play. The initials on the tongue stand for a motto repeated in his family since he was a young player: “Much required, much given.”

Ja Morant, point guard, Memphis

The point guard combines colors from different teams throughout his career that helped propel him to the league — from Sumter, South Carolina to Murray, Kentucky to Memphis, Tennessee.

Josh Okogie, guard, Minnesota

The technicolor theme of this PG3 expresses the guard’s mindset to keep bringing the energy to every single game. “NONSTP” is printed on the tongue loop to remind him of this night in and night out.

Royce O’Neale, forward, Utah

The forward loves candy, so he designed his KD12 to look like his favorite treats. He also embellished his shoe with details referring to his mother and other members of his family, linking back to his childhood (where his history with candy began).

Cam Reddish, forward, Atlanta

The Atlanta forward built a color mosaic with blues and reds from the formative teams he’s played on throughout his career that have helped develop him into the player he is today.

Jerome Robinson, guard, Los Angeles

The shooting guard designed his shoe with an earthy palette to highlight some of his favorite hobbies, camping and hiking. The phrase “Live Free” is printed on the heel and represents his life ethos.

Collin Sexton, point guard, Cleveland

This wild colorway from the point guard revolves around personal expression. The acronym on the heel stands for “Move with a Purpose,” a personal mantra of his.

Anfernee Simons, guard, Portland

A mix of the colors from his NBA team and his Florida high school team, the shooting guard’s shoe follows his pride in being drafted out of high school. Simons added his home zip code (32701) across the heel tag as a shout-out to his hometown.

Brad Wanamaker, guard, Boston

The guard had a multifaceted journey to the league once he graduated college. His shoe tells the story of how he arrived to the NBA after playing with teams in France, Germany and Turkey, each represented by colors in his shoe. As an added touch, he calls out his hometown of Philadelphia on the shoe’s tongue.

 

UA Black Ice Performance Analysis and Review

Since the Bucks are balling tonight, I figured I’d dig these out and write a review on them. Back in the day Brandon Jennings was the only face of UA hoops while he was in Milwaukee so why not bust out the tried and true Gucci black and red Black Ice (s) for shits and giggles. I’ve had these in cold storage for the past 8 or 9 years..get it? Ice? Black ice? Nevemind

I thought these were sexy as hell when I bought them and I really liked the UA curry 7 brand. And for $110 what the hell right? I remember getting them late at night around Thanksgiving time and I opened them up and smiled because the new shoe smell slapped me in the face and the patent leather sparkled with hints of green. And damn that Micro G felt amazing. Micro G >>>>> HOVR which is pretty much remarketed garbage.

Pros: traction when clean, cushioning, fit, support and stability, containment

Cons: lots of wiping needed on dusty floors,

Sizing : true to size to half a size down depending on preference

Best For:any position

Weight

A little lighter than average for a mid at 14 ounces. Most mids are around 14.5-16 ounces

Traction

Shattered glass or ice traction pattern looks cool and works great on clean floors, but can be Chazz Michael Michaels on dusty floors…get it ? Ice skating? Blades of Glory ? Black ice ? Never m..

Although the traction isn’t the worst on dusty floors, this is the main weakness of the Black Ice. Really skating on thin ice when it comes to acceptability with these on dusty floors. Get it ? Thin ice? Black Ice? Never..

Cushioning

I’ll take this “old” cushioning over HOVR in the Havoc and Curry 6 any day every day, no questions asked. Zero, Zilch, Nada. Micro G on the Black Ice gives me everything; it’s low to the ground and springy right out of the box.

Oh yea Mr Orange sole. Micro G insole I do miss theeSome shoetubers don’t even know the difference between a open cell ortholite insole which is BLUE vs an orange Micro G insole

You’d think Micro G was made of diamond dust the way UA has gotten so cheap with it. HOVR is marketed like a MOFO but it’s 95% BS. UA is slowly putting more Micro G on their shoes again at least.

Fit

Ah back in the day when one size didn’t fit one. I bought a 10.5 and 11 and went with the 10.5. Patent leather toe boxes like this usually have more room in the toe box and these are no different. Easily could have gone with 11 though without any issues since the fit is adaptable to many foot sizes.

No heel slip or side to side movement. The strap is just there so don’t expect any help from it. You can’t really make patent leather hug your foot (see Aj Xi) so there isn’t a perfect one to one fit in the toe box but it’s acceptable.

Materials

Definitely considered premium today. Patent leather and synthetic leather that feels like leather/nubuck. No issues here but no awards given by me for materials.

Support and stability

So asymmetrical it looks like a haircut from the 90’s

A lowish Mid that has a higher medial side to help with ankle support m. Air Jordan XIV anyone? I really love this concept because it works without compromising ankle mobility.

Even though there is no a super tiny outrigger I had no issues underfoot since the outsole is very wide and flat.

No issues overall here

Containment

No issues thanks to stiff patent leather, a little strap etc..

Conclusion

This was the first b-ball shoe for UA and they did a great job. Maybe UA should revisit the mold or rehire the designer. If traction was better like the UA Juke, then these would be probably be considered into getting some PT but of course with sig shoes you gotta make them unique. Man the Juke traction is/was fantastic..

The rest of the shoe works pretty well and I have zero complaints. It’s one of the shoes I like but don’t love but could have loved if a few improvements were made.

Oh and by the way Bucks in 6 over my dude Kawhi and company. Unless the Klaw gets some help, I just don’t see them getting to the finals over a more talented and deeper team.

Air Jordan XIV Performance Review

Since the Oxy XIV retro just came out I thought I’d finally write about my love for the XIV. These would still be in my top 5 if they were wearable but being 18 years old (yikes!!), I can’t trust them to hold up. Please note that this is a review of the original 1998 release not the crappy retros. I tried the 2006 retros out and could tell they weren’t the same so I gave up on them and stuck to collecting and playing in only the originals. I have not tried any of the newer retros. I’ve probably trashed about 10 pair. I do not recommend buying them to play in due to the risk of watching them fall apart. I’ve had to Shoe Goo my current pair a few times. Shoo goo is awesome if you’ve never tried it.

This is the shoe that made me realize all shoes are not made equal. I actually fell in love with the looks of the shoe because of how it performed on court and all the great memories I had playing in them. Just simple and clean. Of course everyone else’s memory is MJ’s last shot. Photo courtesy of Solecollector .

Pros: traction, perfect cushioning, fit, support and stability, containment

Cons: durabilityforefoot midsole “teeth”‘come apart after heavy wear, sole and upper at toe box separate over time, metal bar in tongue can be painful, tongue likes to slide off to the side, Ferrari shield needs break in on some pairs.

Sizing: true to size

Best for: guards

Weight:

I never weighed these before and it weighs a whopping half ounce more than the Crazylight 2016. It doesn’t matter how much a shoe weighs if it feels like an extension of your foot.

Traction: 

The late 90’s, early 2000’s were simpler times. Full length herringbone made out a soft pliable rubber that sticks to the floor like glue. Dirty floor ? No problem. If you like to hear squeaky traction, these are for you.

They could extend the herringbone up and around the forefoot like they do nowadays but not need really.

So simple yet effective. Just plain awesome.

Cushioning

Want to feel what Zoom is supposed to feel like and why it is so addictive ? Try the OG XIV. Low to the ground yet springy and responsive.

These actually have articulated forefoot Zoom like the Super Fly 4 and covers almost the full width of the forefoot. No tiny Met Bag like the Kobe V/VI. Picture courtesy of sneakerdebut.com

The heel features Zoom as well and back then, Zoom bags were big, not the quarter size things we see today. Notice the heel cut out? Very similar idea to the Kobe IV V VI “Y heel”.

Insoles these days are usually just a piece of Ortholite or thin cheap foam but these XIV (2006 retros included) feature these heel and forefoot inserts that feel almost like Adiprene. This gives the wearer a little more cushioning and step in comfort.

The end result is cushioning perfection. Responsive yet protective. If cushioning is a drug, this is the crack that got me hooked on Zoom.
Fit:

Back then, I wore a 10.5 but my feet have flattened out and lengthened in the past eighteen years so now I need an 11. However I can still wear the 10.5 but don’t have the toe box space I like.

I know I sound like a broken record but back in the 90’s, Jordans were really wear tested a lot so the fit on the XIV is like a glove. No straps or gimmicks, just an effective lacing system that kept your foot in.

There is zero heel slip with a 3/4 mid cut
The memory foam in the ankle collar is the perfect amount.

Just feels like true extension of the foot. Man I miss these.  Maybe I’ll get the newer retros.
Support and stability 

The AJ XIV features an assymetrical collar which allows freedom on movement on cuts but support on ankle ankle inversions. The higher medial side “slows the roll” if you turn your ankle.

Tons of real carbon fiber.. So sexy

Of course the base of the shoe is flat and stable with no tippiness.

Once again, simple yet effective use of design and technology.

Containment 

Upon examining the XIV, Jordan Brand was way ahead of its time and is still designed better than a lot of shoes today that feature mesh or knit uppers **cough, melo m12, JC2, JC3, AJ XX9, Soldier X**

Almost the entire shoe features an extended midsole to keep the foot in place on cuts. Some of the extension was removed to allow more flexibility .

I have probably reglued the forefoot “teeth” about five times on this pair.

Regardless of durability, containment is excellent.

Flaws:

No actual performance flaws with the XIV but some irritants.

  1. Metal bar across the top of the tongue can jam into your ankle and be painful. Only certain pairs of mine did this.
  2. Tongue doesn’t sit straight up on some pairs and usually slides to a side
  3. The Ferrari Jordan shield is another hard spot but softens with time.
  4. Toe box and sole can separate but that’s due to the age of the shoe and use of leather. Shoe goo to the rescue!

Conclusion 

In shoe collectors’ eyes, the Air Jordan XIV is not a holy grail. Sure MJ hit one of his most famous shots in them but he only wore the Last Shots in the playoffs. Sales were lackluster since MJ retired and never wore these on court the next season. However, from a performance perspective, these were and still are the BEST PERFORMING AIR JORDAN OF ALL TIME. the AJ XI, XII, and XIII a get a lot of love and rightfully so but the XIV is just flawless from top to bottom (don’t get me started on anything post XIV because they all have their flaws especially XV to XVIII).  These would still be in my top 5 rotation if they would hold up. Maybe I’ll try a newer retro pair for fun..

Nike Kobe AD NXT FastFit Performance Review

The best iteration of Nike’s laceless FastFit system is here.

Traction on the Nike Kobe AD NXT FF is aggressive in both looks and performance.

The scale pattern has proven to be fairly durable during indoor testing and has a bit to it that reminds me of the solid rubber offerings from the Nike Kobe 11 EM. Something I love is that the channels or grooved in between each row of these scales are spaced far enough apart that if dust is present on your court then it falls right through. If you happen to play on a really filthy floor, like I do at my local 24 Hr Fitness, and dust starts clumping up on the outsole a quick wipe and I was good-to-go.

Outdoors, the traction does grip and grip well. However, I wouldn’t want to spend $200 on an outdoor shoe, nor would I want my outdoor shoe to have a traction pattern made of nubs. Herringbone would be my go-to as it wears a bit more evenly.

Cushion comes in the form of a drop-in midsole featuring full-length React. There is a small section of Cushlon that acts as a stability layer in the rear heel, but the majority of the midsole is React foam.

If you’ve played in the Nike Kobe AD NXT 360, which featured React and Lunarlon, this setup isn’t as plush/soft as those were. However, I found this setup to be slightly more enjoyable as I like a little firmness for stability/court feel purposes, and there was plenty of React to go around for impact protection.

Materials are interesting. It felt like I wasn’t wearing anything at all when I first put them on. Because of this I was hesitant to play at normal speed. Once my warmups were done and I began playing my first few games in them, I went from being hesitant to forgetting I was wearing anything at all.

Under the spandex-like overlay there is Nike’s QuadFit material. I believe that internal section of the shoe is what really carries the brunt of the weight and force applied when cutting and changing directions. Add to the QuadFit system the nylon “laces” loops that the FastFit system is fed through, where laces would traditionally be, and you have a fairly normal setup for a shoe.

They fit true to size, and lockdown was a pleasant surprise. As mentioned in the material section above, I was very hesitant at first, but wound up falling in love with how they felt. For some reason they just fit my foot right, something I was unable to achieve with the Air Jordan 34 until after I realized you can pull the FastFit system too tight. With this version of the system, I could only pull them to a certain point and then they just wouldn’t tighten up anymore. I’m not sure if something was tweaked with the FastFit system to ensure there could be no over-tightening, but what the reason — these felt perfect for me.

Support was another surprise, given the flimsy nature of the build. Without using the cupsole to their advantage, I don’t think this material setup would have worked as well as it had. Luckily, your foot sits within the cupsole just enough to cover you on lateral movements while the outrigger takes care of the rest. There is a small heel counter in the shoe that also worked pretty well. The overall support was very reminiscent of the Nike Kobe AD NXT 360 — everything relied heavily on the entire shoe working in tandem with one another along with the fit, support features and FastFit lacing design.

Overall, I enjoyed the Kobe AD NXT FF a lot more than I thought I would.

I had called the Nike Kobe NXT 360 a next generation type of shoe, and they kind of outdid themselves with this one. The rounded feel of the tooling featured on the NXT 360 was removed and replaced with something a bit more traditional — very similar feel to the Kobe 11. While the traction durability issues seem to have been addressed as well.

While the Air Jordan 33‘s FastFit system left me wanting more, the only thing with this version I could complain about is the lack of zonal tightening. With the lacing system being comprised of a single pulley system I can see why targeted zonal tightening is missing. It would be awesome if it was a future feature of FastFit — but only time will tell.

If you end up grabbing a pair of the Nike Kobe AD NXT FF then I hope you enjoy the shoe as much as I did.

Thank you for stopping by, reading, watching, and commenting. We at jordandebut.com appreciate your continued support. Now get off your computer, smartphone, or tablet and get back on the court. Enjoy your time on the hardwood while you still can.

Wilson Evo Nxt Review and Comparison

Since we’re talking about balls…

So I got a Wilson email about the Evo NXT and like the sucker I am, I saw only 100 were being sold so I jumped in and bought one. Ok I was going to buy one anyways because I was interested in the NXT when I first heard about it. As most of you know the og EVO is not my favorite ball to play (I like playing with my own balls?) but since it is on every court every league every day and night, I kinda have to use it and get used to it.

The good news is that this ball will be released in normal quantities in the future but when ? The other possible good news is that maybe Wilson will phase out the old one and the ball has NXT. I guess Nike and Wilson use the same nomenclature guys?

I like writing about balls because it doesn’t take me a long time to dissect one and there aren’t one thousand pieces of BS to sift through. This ball only really has a few things to talk about.

• Micro-Touch Cover – An extra layer of texture on the pebbled cover creates double-layered grip, and channels away moisture for ultimate control.

• Super Soft Core – extra cushioning allows your fingers to dig deeper into the surface for better control and a softer feel, helping every player find the shooters touch.

• Extended Range Tech – the super soft core construction redistributes the weight and balance of the ball making it easier to shoot from long range.

• Moisture Wicking System – the system minimizes moisture on the cover for better grip throughout the game.

• 100% Composite laid-in channels – the only 100% fully composite leather ball on the market with laid-in channels for extra control.

Cover

Top left clockwise: NXT, the Rock, Solution, OG EVO

This section pretty much covers bullet points 1,2,4. As a fan of the air jordan 12 solution ball and a non fan of the og Evo cover, this ball feels like a hybrid of the two which some will like and some will not.

The cover doesn’t feel as “leathery “ as the OG cover but doesn’t feel quite like the Solution either. I’ve been discussing balls with my friends and almost everyone who looks a solution turns it away because it looks cheap but when you play with it, namely shoot and dribble with you, you see why Lonzo had a lot of success with it. I think people will be that same way with the NXT. It is a very rubbery orange color versus the brownish synthetic leather of the OG and most any synthetic ball but man it handles and feels so controlled like the Solution. It does not feel like the OG EVO, The Rock or Baden Elite. I do think Wilson May have a Tf1000 legacy vs OG type of problem selling the public on a new and improved version of this ball.

Overall, if you like the feel of the OG Evo, you’ll probably find no need or want to change. If you want a little more moisture absorption and consistency you’ll like this cover. If you like the way the Solution plays but wish it had a little more padding, you’ll also really like the way this cover plays. Leather like look and feel does not equate to a better cover. If you want that type of cover stick with the OG, the Rock or Baden Elite.

Channels

Top left clockwise: NXT, the Rock, Solution, OG EVO

All look and feel the same . Nice wide and deep channels deeper and wider than the EVO make this so easy to handle and shoot with. Have you ever shot with the Wave? It’s odd looking but has the Solution cover and those ripples on it make it easy to shoot with because you can just get that much more extra leverage all over the ball and not just within the channels. I think the wider channels just make this ball a breeze find your pocket and to shoot with.

Extended range tech

The oddest claim on the NXT is the range tech where it “redistributes the weight and balance “. So yea about that .

A basketball is only a few millimeters thick so adjusting the weight around a millimeter or two isn’t going to make a world of difference and I tried “scientifically” testing this by just moving farther and farther back but alas my numbers were the same. Maybe the redistributed weight makes the ball feel light or or increases or decreases spin by half a revolution per minute but in reality you aren’t going to see a difference in your range..and if you do, your opponent has that same advantage so it’s truly a wash.

And sure enough it doesn’t weigh any different than any of my other balls (insert joke). I’ll give the ol’ scale a error margin of plus minus an ounce.

Extended range tech is bs but hey if everyone gets the same BS it doesn’t matter.

Conclusion

I sat here writing this review and said to myself why am I writing this ? Why do I write any review about anything ? Buying a better ball doesn’t help you put the ball in the basket any better and even if it did, you just gave your opponent the same advantage and that’s assuming the other team wants to use YOUR NXT ball. But after thinking about it, it’s not necessarily that a ball is better, but it’s about getting the most out of your dollar. And therin lies the crux of the review because this ball is currently $79 which is almost double (sometimes double when the OG is on sale). I got my TF1000 OG for $80 when Spaulding did a limited release a few years ago and everyone knows that’s my

Nike Joyride Run Flyknit Performance Review

The Nike Joyride Run Flyknit is the first shoe to use Nike’s newest cushioning system, Joyride. The Joyride Run Flyknit puts four pouches of free flowing foam beads beneath each foot. When you put on the shoe, the beads conform to your foot sort of like if you were stepping on a bean bag. The idea being the shoes become a customized cushioning setup for anyone who wears them. This both sounds and looks awesome. But does Joyride work? Let’s find out.

After we received the shoes from Nike, both Jodi and I both ran a lot of miles in our pairs of the Nike Joyride Run Flyknit. We did long runs, speed workouts, treadmill work, and wore them casually. Our breakdown below includes our thoughts on the performance of the shoe across multiple categories.

Jodi: What’s everyone buzzing about? The crazy cushion air jordan 1 is now offering with the Joyride Run Flyknit. As I read some of the initial articles about the shoe, here’s the picture that formed in my head: Thousands of little foamy beads pressing into my feet, forming perfectly around it as they propel me forward throughout my run and snap back into place with each step. All the while bringing joy to my running life and yours, whether this is your first run ever or just a simple recovery run.

Well….hate to say it, but that’s not what happened to me. And I LOVE running. If you’ve seen any of the press then you already know the TPE beads are housed inside of four different pods arranged from heel to forefoot with the most beads being placed in the heel. I can tell you that the beads do snap back into their original shape after each run because every time I would put them on my feet had to remold the footbed. Which I guess is cool if you want to feel like you are running in a brand new pair of shoes every time you go for a run. My problem with how the pods are set up is that sometimes the beads will all get mashed in one direction. A member of our Discord Community said it best when he compared that feeling to a no show sock slipping off under your foot. Almost every morning before running I’d have to stomp around and wiggle my foot to get those beads to smooth themselves out. And that was just the problem I had before getting out the door. The foam cushion, SR02, that holds the pods is super soft. But it’s not the same density as the beads in the pods. And this is especially true of the sidewalls. So after about 2 miles of running, I could feel the foam pressing up into the sides of my feet where the pods tapered off. This was especially present in the forefoot. It also became even more obvious when making tight turns where I could feel the beads shift under foot.

Drew: A quick search around the internet reveals that Joyride is one of the most polarizing cushion technologies in recent memory. There’s people who absolutely hate it, people like Jodi who didn’t have a great experience, people like me who thought it was solid in certain circumstances, and then there’s even people who love it. There’s a reason for this. When you get the shoe on foot, it feels weird. It took me some time to get used to the beads conforming all the way up to my high arch. For some, it will feel like there’s not any wiggle room in the shoe and they’ll hate it. Others might enjoy the sensation. This is a shoe you need to try on just to feel this new technology in action. You may not like it, but it’s worth it to feel how different it is from other shoes.

While I’ve been wearing the nike kryie 6, any time I meet someone in the sneaker industry close to my size 11.5 foot, they want to try it on. So I’ve let them. It’s given me a lot of interesting feedback and further confirmed the polarizing nature of the shoe. One footwear designer had the best comparison. He said the way the beads move under foot feels a lot like 90s era Reebok DMX. For those that don’t remember, in the original DMX, as your weight shifted, air actually moved between pods in the outsole. The sensation isn’t exactly the same but it’s close. Another designer compared the Nike Joyride Run Flyknit to the VaporMax because of its polarizing feel. He knew some people would love it while others hated it. He pretty much nailed it.

As for myself, there were a couple things that annoyed me about Joyride but the cushion largely worked as intended. I’m a big guy at 6’6” and 210 pounds and I think that played a role in my experience. Like Moses parting the Red Sea, slipping my foot inside the Joyride Run and then standing up made the beads go where they were supposed to go. They did move slightly while I ran. This largely wasn’t a problem except for a couple times where it felt like a bead was above all the others on the side of my heel. In those cases it felt like a small rock annoying my foot. A quick shake of my foot usually got rid of it. I also occasionally felt the area where the foam sidewalls were bonded to the upper pressing into the edge of my forefoot. A quick foot reposition always solved the issue.

In one run, I ran 6.75 medium-paced miles in the Joyride Run and my legs felt great afterwards. However, I wouldn’t speed train in the Joyride as I didn’t get much energy return on push off. A lot of the energy dissipates into the moving beads. That’s fine for recovery runs and casual wear but not when you’re looking to hit specific times on 400 meter intervals.

Jodi: I’m actually impressed with the traction. That was my one nitpick when originally seeing the shoe. How is that traction going to hold up to 300 miles? Let alone the 450+ miles one article claimed. But now, looking at the wear and tear on the rubber outsole, if I gave the shoe a good cleaning you’d barely be able to tell they’ve been used. That is, if you ignore the foam cushion. SR02 is Nike’s softest available cushion. It’s even softer than React. And on the lateral side of the shoe they have a beautiful jeweled Nike swoosh that has shredded the foam thanks to being constantly mashed into the ground by my footsteps. But all things considered, the traction has been very reliable and durable.

Drew: Like Jodi, I was skeptical of the traction pattern’s durability. But Nike used some really hard rubber and it’s holding up extremely well. It should last for the typical 300+ miles we expect from running shoes. With harder rubbers, traction in wet conditions can really suffer. That didn’t happen for me with the Joyride Run Flyknit. It still had a nice grip even when wet.

Jodi: The support comes from the outer heel cage that wraps up and around your ankle to then become your top lace loops. You also sit down inside of the foam cushion. The system works together to enable solid lockdown.

Drew: As Jodi said, the foam wrapping up around the heel and the heel cage itself give you great heel lockdown. I was initially worried about the support (with a bunch of free flowing beads underneath my feet), but Nike did a great job of building the support around the Joyride cushion. The foam side walls and the Joyride’s plastic heel carrier extend high enough where your heel will stay on the footbed even when running on uneven ground.

Jodi: The upper is a very form fitting flyknit bootie. My favorite part of the shoe would have to be the pull tab combined with the stretchy tongue. If it weren’t for those two I wouldn’t be able to get the shoes on.

Drew: The shoe is a cool looking mix of Flyknit and a neoprene bootie. The look and colors are similar to the Nike React Presto Breezy. The neoprene is (welcomely) perforated to allow some airflow on the medial side of the foot. There’s also some fuse reinforcing the lace loops at the big toe area of each shoe. The fuse at the big toe is more of a design feature but it adds variety to the forefoot’s all Flyknit look.

Jodi: The Nike Joyride Run Flyknit is a tight squeeze at first. But everything did stretch in the right places, even for a wide footer like me. Nike sent me a size 7 even though I typically run in a size 6.5. After putting them on I realized they did it on purpose knowing the shoes fit a bit small. If you can’t get into a store to try them on, err on the side of caution and go up half a size.

Drew: Though the Joyride Run Flyknit is a tight fit, there are no pressure points and it stretches nicely. For comparison purposes, it’s not as tight as the Jordan React Havoc and the Flyknit has a bit more stretch than the React Havoc’s more traditional stretchy mesh. Nike sent me my correct size of 11.5 and I ended up with under a thumbnail of space lengthwise. If you have a narrow foot like me you can get away going true to size, however, I think the majority of people will prefer going up half a size.

Overall

Jodi: If you asked me to Marie Kondo my shoe closet, the Joyride Run would go in the donation pile. It doesn’t bring me joy the way the name implies. I consider myself a veteran runner. I’ve been running about five days a week for over a decade. After runs in the Joyride Run I didn’t feel fresh. Instead, I found myself feeling super slow and heavy. The 10,000+ beads didn’t propel me forward in the same way the Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2 does. And with both shoes costing $180, I’d have to recommend the Pegasus Turbo 2 over the Joyride Run Flyknit.
Drew: The Nike Joyride Run Flyknit will not be for everyone, especially at its $180 price point. Most serious runners will prefer a shoe with more energy return and most beginners shouldn’t be spending $180 on running shoes. The Joyride Run Flyknit is a recovery run tool for experienced runners and a fun technology that will excel in the casual world while being used for occasional runs by weekend warriors. If you get the chance, try them on. Joyride doesn’t feel like any other cushioning technology and you need to decide for yourself whether you love or hate the way it molds to your foot. This is one of those shoes that will polarize the sneaker community, so go try it out for yourself and form your own opinion. Nike is going to make successful lifestyle sneakers using Joyride so it’s a cushion that will be around creating conversation for the foreseeable future.